What if I told you that Santa is real? What if I told you that you can actually meet him, take a ride on his sleigh and even pet his reindeers?
I, too, was skeptical at first but the moment I got to see the man himself, all my childhood memories came rushing back and the magic of holiday tradition instantly warmed my heart. Now if you want proof, here’s the full account of my winter escape where me and my friends got to meet St. Nick himself, in his hometown at Rovaniemi, right at the Lapland region of Finland.
Coming from our trip to Sweden, a bus then transferred us back to Kiruna-Jukkasjärvi for our flight to Stockholm, where we stayed to wait for another flight. Check out this cool clip of us ordering drinks straight from a touchscreen device at Stockholm Arlanda Airport.
From Stockholm we then flew to Helsinki and began our adventure with a cozy overnight stay at the Hilton Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland.
After a hearty breakfast, we then left for our noon flight to Rovaniemi. As we got to the airport we immediately went straight to the Santa Claus Hotel, which signaled the start of our quest to rediscover the magic of Christmas in the place where St. Nick himself lived. Here we are posing in front of Hotel Santa Claus, a modern first class hotel in the center of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland.
We also savored an authentic Finnish feast at Restaurant Savotta. The place boasts of having its guests dine in nostalgic Finnish tradition set inside a space decorated with authentic logging artifacts.
We had to wake up early the next day to start our excursion to the reindeer and husky farms at Koskikatu 1. The local reindeer farm was where we learned about Lappish culture and reindeer husbandry. Being on a reindeer drawn sleigh was exhilarating.
As we cozied up to our thermal clothing back at the Lapland Safaris office, the operators then took us to the husky camps hidden in the forest near Santa’s village for the next part, which required an international reindeer driver’s license—a slightly faster 20-minute ride with the huskies of the husky farm.
After that, we were treated to an unobstructed view of the frozen Arctic woodlands as we rode to the heart of nature and back via snowmobile. The river valley scenes were breathtaking as seen from the hilltops!
They took us along frozen rivers and through white forests with tall snow-covered trees. I even got to appreciate the stunning environment more as we stopped for hot beveragebreaks as the motor ran.
After an eventful day of traversing the woodlands, we then had a whole night to ourselves to prepare for the major highlight of our trip – heading to the Santa Claus Village the next day.
A fantasy dream come true, Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi made us feel the magic of Christmas as it came alive in the attractions that celebrate the wonderful St. Nick himself. This is a clip of the special Lapp ceremony done before crossing the Arctic Circle to meet Santa.
Santa Claus’ Village functioned as a winter amusement park that tourists really frequented all season long. They’ve even got themed souvenir shops where you can bring home a memento or two. You can also send postcards from Santa Claus’ main post office.
Legend has it that when Santa declared Rovaniemi as his hometown, his home at Ear Mountain (Korvatunturi) also got revealed. To keep this closely guarded secret from spreading, the Elf folk built a place at the Northern Arctic Circle where Santa could meet people. This was how Santa Claus Village began.
The Village made us believe in Santa Claus again as the mystery of this iconic childhood figure unraveled right before our eyes. The whole experience was nothing short of enchanting. Everything in the park lit up the child in us with glee; from his reindeers, including Rudolph, to the way he commits to his mission of delivering happiness to children all around the world.
It’s these kinds of magic-filled memories that we truly recommend people to experience for themselves. With that, I urge you to plan your holidays ahead and book your winter escape with us here at #WorldJuanderer.
I can assure you that our travel managers will do their best to make your trip as extraordinarily captivating and meaningful as possible. #JuanderWithUs today!